Wind Monk Banishment: Fox Chronicles #1
Naruto: Wind Monk Banishment – Fox Chronicles
Note: Now that I’ve gotten some motivation for doing this series back, I’m splitting the flashbacks up.
Chapter 1: After Banishment
Somewhere in the Land of Wind
Naruto: Age 13
How long had he walked?
The desert winds ravaged the cloak Naruto had bought on his way past the border of the Land of Fire and Land of Wind. The few possessions he held were stored away, leaving only a bag slung over his shoulder, as he tried to face off against the desert wind. The merciless sun unleashed its wrath upon the former ninja from Konoha.
He had been banished by the one he saw as a surrogate grandmother, and berated by the one he would call his most loved person. Two women who made up the majority of his affection had sentenced him to banishment from his home nation. They took his home that he once swore loyalty to.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, he bought the water flask up to his lips in hopes of quenching his unbelievable thirst. Yet, all he received was a meager splash of liquid relief before the droplets ceased. He was out of water.
It was times like this he wished he had learned some water jutsu that could pull water out of the air. He was sure that the man who claimed to have copied over a thousand jutsu would know some paltry trick like that. Maybe if the man had actually spent some time teaching him some of those techniques, he could have relied on something other than the fox.
Not that it mattered away.
The blond looked at the array on the back of his hands. These seals spelled the end of any simple attempt of trying any technique that required hand seals. The dozens of times he tried to use his signature technique since they had been applied to his flesh, all ended the same.
Fire would wash over his hands, and the nerves would smolder in pain. As if a kunai had been shoved through even the bone, the pain would radiate, and agony would overtake him. The chakra control he utilized through the seals would flux, and all control would be lost.
The Rasengan was beyond him without the use of a clone, leaving him virtually nothing but the basic training, water-walking, and tree-climbing techniques. He couldn’t be Hokage with only those techniques under his belt. They had taken his dream away from him the moment they took his jutsu away…
Then again, why did he even wish to be the leader of the village?
Was it to continue to protect those who humiliated him? Those who shunned him? Those who tormented him?
Looking back, there was only one answer: Their respect.
Like a child coddling a phony ideal, he clung to the belief that he could receive the respect and admiration of those who saw him only as the demon fox reborn. He would’ve drowned carrying those ideals. Why should he spend his final days defending those who only saw him as a demon?
How he truly detested that word, along with being called a monster or the fox itself.
The number of people who truly cared for him could be counted on one hand since the death of his grandfather figure. The Ichirakus, Iruka, Shizune maybe, not Granny—not after what she did—and definitely not Sakura…So few people, out of a village of tens of thousands, if not more?
In anger, he threw the flask into the distant sand. “FUCK!”
Why did he journey into the desert sands in the first place?
He couldn’t rely on Gaara, his jinchuuriki brethren still had people who loathed him. Yukie was busy as the Daimyo of the Land of Spring. Without his jutsu, what could he do as a ninja for either of their forces?
The answer: Nothing.
He never learned to cook, instead relying on the salvation of cheap ramen that sustained him whenever he couldn’t get to the Ichiraku family. He couldn’t go to Wave and help Tazuna, since he never learned a thing about construction. He never learned another trade at all besides being a ninja, since in a hidden village they were the ones who held the best but most dangerous jobs. Not to mention as a jinchuuriki he realized he never had another choice but to be his village’s weapon.
From the beginning, he could only be a ninja and nothing else. Now they had taken that away from him. The blond could feel an emotion he had long since tried to mask behind a phony smile: Hatred.
Spilling out like torrent of malicious fluid, it would not be completely bottled until it came down to an acceptable level. Years worth of anguish and misery embodied hate. How long had it been since he let it out freely and showed it on his face?
He would never again put on that mask for the likes of that rotten village. He would never return to their service should he survive the three years. The headband he left behind and the necklace that was once a promise to take the hat of the Hokage, were the two remaining things that tied him to them.
Grating his teeth, he attempted to hold back the anger inside of him. The best he could do was reducing the flow to prevent the tainted chakra of his tenant from flowing untamed. The reduced amount was enough to fixate his eyes to their fox state.
The desert winds had picked up now. The former ninja covered his face and pressed on. The flask was lost in his brief fit of rage, swallowed by the desert itself as a tribute.
The sun was nearing it’s time to set, and the sky looked painted by a somber blaze. The winds carried sand and became a storm that battered against the jinchuuriki. As if not satisfied by his meager tribute, the desert wanted a greater offering.
The jinchuuriki fell to his knees tired, and thirsty. Smacking his lips for any moisture he could, his body begged him to simply rest. In a way, the desert was offering him a reprieve to his suffering.
“Maybe…” The jinchuuriki gave a mirthless chuckle. “Maybe I should’ve thought this through…”
With those final words, he fell over the dune that shifted beneath him and into the bed of sand beneath. The desert wind offered him a blanket that gradually took form. His eternal rest would be comfortable with the shifting sand fitting into a perfect coffin for him.
Hope and light faded, as Naruto Uzumaki of Konoha closed his eyes for what he assumed to be his final time…
“I shall not perish like this,” a demonic voice echoed across his mindscape. Red chakra leaked from his pores and knocked the sand that blanketed him away—unleashing a gale that trumped the sandstorm. It strove to move the boy’s body, but while it could heal injuries, it could not stave off death by thirst.
“Head Monk—” A voice reached the fox’s ears and it dialed back the chakra. It would seem that luck or fate was for once not against the boy. “—someone’s here!”
The fox settled back down, unaware or uncaring of who the two figures draped in worn desert cloaks that trekked over to him were, so long as they saved the host that had become a more acceptable container.
The pair slipped a canteen to his lips to give him a minor relief from dehydration. The unconscious jinchuuriki coughed violently as it slid down his throat. Lifting him up before the desert could claim him again, they took him to his new life…
Two Days Later
Naruto opened his eyes.
The world was blurred and slowly coming to focus. The scent of vanilla wafted in the air, from a candle burning on the dresser near him. The light from the candle fought back the darkness of the enclosed space in a struggle that seemed never-ending.
“Head monk, he’s come to…” A young man’s voice entered the blond’s ears. It was followed by the creaking of a door, and harder foot steps against the floor.
“…Ah…” Naruto tried to speak, but his throat was parched, and it came out as little more than a tiny grunt.
“Drink this,” an older voice reached his ears. A figured stood above him, still blurred by the wavering jinchuuriki’s vision, and placed something cold and wet to his lips. Liquid mercy slid down his throat and quenched his dying thirst.
“…Thank you,” the jinchuuriki muttered weakly, as his vision finally cleared and revealed his saviors.
The older man had a rough face and bald head. A battle scar ran from his forehead across his face, narrowly avoiding his eyes. He was dressed in loose robes that were tanned.
The younger boy had his hair in a ponytail, with two bangs hanging in front of his face. His eyes peered down at the jinchuuriki in a mixture of contempt and concern. The tanned short-sleeved shirt and pants were plain, with the only thing abnormal being the strap across his shoulder that supported the Jo staff on his back.
“You were lucky,” the older man warned him. “Had Kino and I not been passing by, the desert would have claimed you. Most people would have died by then.”
A weak, humorless grin etched itself across his face. “Since when did I have good luck?”
A frown graced the older man’s face. “I take it your past has been unpleasant? Not surprising given your career choice. Your body is fairly above average in strength and I sense chakra within you. What village do you hail from?”
“Konoha—” Naruto noticed Kino’s hands ball into fists, but paid it no mind. He struggled to lift his own hands. Staring at the seals on the back of them, his fox-like eyes simmered with a raging warmth and hue. “Formerly of Konoha.”
The older man nodded slowly. “You are searching for a new path in life?”
Naruto closed his eyes in thought, before he nodded. “I can’t leave behind the life I had, since it is all I know…but I do.”
The older man exhaled deeply. “When you feel able to move, there is food on the dresser to your left. Regain your strength, and we shall speak of a possible path. You will find us downstairs. I am Head Monk of the Wind Temple, Ashua, and this young one is Kino.”
“My name is Naruto Uzumaki,” he returned the courtesy. “Thank you for saving my life.”
The pair left and Naruto weakly reached over for the meager meal. Despite not tasting like Ramen, it was filling. He would soon gain back his strength…
An Hour Later
The stone steps leading down the stairs were quickly traversed, as Naruto made his way down them. Upon stepping down the last one, he found himself in an open room. It was filled with various monks, all sitting lotus style with the Head Monk at the front.
As if sensing his arrival, Ashua opened his eyes and pointed to a door at the opposite end of Naruto’s current location. The former Konoha shinobi nodded in understanding and silently made his way to it.
The office held two cushions for the Head Monk and a guest to sit as he addressed matters, with candles dancing on their wicks in a sultry manner. A Monk’s Spade hung on the wall by two hooks, serving as a reminder of a distant past. The scent of vanilla wafted in the air and soothed the rage beneath the surface of the jinchuuriki, whom sat down on a cushion and waited.
His patience was rewarded, as Head Monk Ashua entered the room with a serene calm. “Have you regained your strength?”
“Yeah, a bit…” Naruto bowed to the monk. “Once again, thanks for saving me.”
“It was what anyone should have done. Think nothing of it.” Ashua waved him off. “More importantly, what do you think of becoming a ninja monk.”
“Is that different than a regular ninja?”
Ashua nodded. “When ninja are called into a matter, they are normally to be used as a weapon—a kunai to strike down a target—good or evil are not relative. Wartime is…unpleasant, since many your age are sent to kill and be killed. The last one was particularly cruel. Ninja monks act as a shield for the weak, using violence as a last resort above all else.
“For example, there are numerous smaller villages that require aid yet cannot afford the prices offered by the major hidden villages. We offer our service to nearby villages free of charge, and when we pilgrimage around the continent, we assist them as well.”
Naruto recalled one of Iruka’s lessons—that he was forced to listen to under the threat of no ramen otherwise—and asked, “How can you afford to maintain everything if you don’t take any money?”
“Our supplies are paid for through donations, but the majority comes from the Wind Daimyo.” Ashua closed his eyes in thought. “The last one was a man who bought a major village to its knees simply because of a disagreement with their leader and greed. He paid no mind that this led to the tragic loss of life during the attempted invasion, nor the rippling effects felt all over the Land of Wind. Desperation led to many degrading to violence and theft, leading to death and sorrow. For that, he was deposed of his title, and a new one has taken his place.”
Naruto filed this information away, putting the facts to the face of his fellow jinchuuriki. He could somewhat understand how desperate they could have been to attack the Leaf. “What about Sunagakure?”
“We don’t have many ties with Sunagakure,” the Head Monk shook his head. “We are neutral. Otherwise, we might have found ourselves involved in a battle that only propagated bloodshed and death.”
That sounds good I guess…Naruto thought.
“Basic clothing and food will be provided, and you can study alongside the others here seeking a path between a role of virtue and a defender of the weak. However, you may be called upon to assist in matters that may or may not require violence as an absolute last resort.”
“I’d like to, but…” Naruto showed him the seals on his hand. “These seals will prevent me from doing any jutsu, so I don’t know how much help I would be.”
“I see,” he nodded. “The dodecagon in the array outline covers the basics used by shinobi in general, with the inward markings covering specific ones. The seals will activate all the pain receptors in your hands, using them to overwrite any attempt at control…but they burned it directly into your nervous system, so I don’t think I can remove it without taking off your hands. Still, it won’t hamper the lessons we will teach you here if you decide to become a ninja monk.”
“Wait,” Naruto stared him in the eyes. “You’ve seen this before?”
“One of the minor subject taught here are sealing arts and I have a hobby in it, since they have many uses in the lifestyle of the desert dweller, such as sealing water to prevent repeated trips to an oasis…” He looked at Naruto with a disparaged face. “As an Uzumaki, I would have expected you to be aware of such things.”
Naruto was dumbfounded. “Why?”
“The Uzumaki clan were renown for the expertise in sealing. All those who study sealing will eventually run across such information. You even carry their spiral on the back of your orange jacket. Did no one in your village inform you?”
The blond gritted his teeth. “No. I didn’t even know I was a part of a clan.”
How dare they not tell him he was part of a clan—extinct or not. That he had a legacy, or something he should have strived to. If the Uzumaki were so close that Konoha bore their symbol on his back, there was no way the older generation shouldn’t have known by his name or even asked him.
Naruto showed cold steel in his eyes. “Sign me up…”
A Few Days Later
The sand lightly blew across the desert dunes, with the wind howling as it passed. The Wind Temple was located at the bottom of a U-shaped plateau, offering it protection from the desert winds in three directions. It also severed to offer shade and keep the sweltering heat of the desert at bay.
The temple itself only appeared to be a three-story building, made of desert stone and illuminated by candles and lanterns to compensate for the lack of windows and power—barring the medical area. However, in truth it had several lower levels that were used to house supplies and other things. The absolute bottom led to a small reservoir of water for daily living.
Currently, Naruto was in the back of the temple. He was carrying a boulder roughly half his size up the side of the plateau that surrounded the temple, until he hit the point marked as the stopping line. It was basically the Tree-Climbing exercise mixed in with strength training.
So far, life at the temple was calmer than it was in Konoha. The ninja monks-in-training were more reserved and pretty nice, although Kino seemed to avoid the jinchuuriki like the plague. Naruto didn’t know why and had other things on his mind, so he couldn’t be concerned with the other monk at the moment.
He woke early like the rest, at 5 AM. Taking off his nightcap and slipping into the plain clothes given to him—much better than the jumpsuit for desert weather—they would gather on the ground floor and warm up with stretches. This limbered the monks-in-training up.
Next they would go out for a morning jog around the entire plateau, taking roughly an hour to complete it twice. They ran on the sand the first time through, constantly adjusting to the loose sand and maintaining their balance while going at a set pace. The second time, they would run along the wall, perpendicular to the ground using chakra to cling to the surface. The morning chill and breeze, before the sun baked the sand, felt great on the jinchuuriki’s skin.
After washing, each monk-in-training would train in a different method of chakra control. Some would use pure chakra to spin a coin on their finger tips, while others went through more physical activities. Naruto focused on trying to recreate the Rasengan without the use of clones. It was going slow.
That was followed by an hour of meditation, and then lunch. Afterwards was more free time devoted to things that could benefit their fellow man. Some took medical jutsu lessons from a healer that used to work in Suna named Marin. Naruto was using the reference texts they had to learn more about the art of sealing in all its glory.
Then sparring and drills to work in their forms and taijutsu. Naruto never was strong in the taijutsu department, mostly relying on straight up numbers to mob the opponent until they were down, trickery to lower their guards, and finishing with the Rasengan…In retrospect, he really should have more aces up his sleeve.
To close they would meditate once again, eat dinner, and then have an hour’s free time before going to bed.
Despite the grueling training and calm setting, Naruto couldn’t ease the creeping malice in his heart. Konoha betrayed him, and kept the fact that he belonged to a clan of seal masters a secret—if he had to guess, it was so he didn’t tamper with his own seal. In a way, they denied him his heritage.
Had he known his mother or father—whichever one was an Uzumaki—were part of an extinct clan, he would have worked on restoring it like Sasuke kept going on about. It was sad, in a way. He could relate better to the Uchiha now, after denying him the opportunity to do the same by dragging him back to that hellhole.
Still, better than allowing him to go to the Snake Bastard’s side. The snake would get his comeuppance for the Old Man’s death too. Eventually.
Upon making it towards the point marked for the boulder, Naruto made his back down the rock face. He was excused from sparring practice since they were using weapons, and Naruto wasn’t particularly skilled with anything more than the basic kunai.
“Naruto,” the Head Monk walked over with Kino in tow. “I’ve decided to have Kino instruct you on how to use the Bo Staff today, since the others have been at it for longer and he’s the best we currently have with most weapons. However, given your…small stature, we will be using the shorter Jo Staffs in their place.”
The Head Monk then produced two wooden Jo Staffs from a seal and handed them off. The jinchuuriki nodded, and looked over to the monk-in-training, who had a barely visible scowl on his impassive mask of a face, before examining the staff and noticing the sealing array on them. Ashua, on the other hand, seemed to pick up on Kino’s thoughts and whispered something into his ears, getting a small nod in return.
“If you’ll excuse me, I have…paperwork.” The monk’s face slightly frowned at that. Nobody liked paperwork. He went back inside and left the two in the shade of the plateau.
Kino snapped his fingers to get the blond’s attention. With the wood at the ready, he began the lecture. “The Bo Staff is one of the staple tools of the wind monks—only second to the body and the Monk Spade. It is your shield, your sword, and your primary instrument when dealing out justice and punishing the wicked. The path of the Bo leads to the Spade and Spear, and until you master it, you will touch no other instrument barring your own body.”
He spun the wood between his fingers to start. The staff became a blur as it circled his body in a demonstration. It spun in his hands, around his arms, and then his body, flowing in a circular pattern that would be an even more magnificent sight if on fire, at night.
He planted the staff into the ground when done, holding it erect. “To start with, get into position. Hold the staff horizontally at the center, with your right hand facing up, and the left facing down. Put about a foot of space between your hands and don’t put them both up or down, those are advanced techniques. This grip allows for rapid strikes and stabs.”
Naruto did as he was told, feeling the weight that lurked in the center. “Now what?”
“Get into a stance with your legs,” he slid his foot across the sand so that his legs were apart, just past the length of his shoulders. “Bend them for better balance and support.”
They began with the basic strikes, blocks and thrusts. Kino corrected his stance dozens of times, and pointed out what not to do by speaking slowly, like Naruto was an idiot. Part of this was because he never had a form aside from the academy basics, and they weren’t really suited for more than being a stepping stone.
Eventually, Naruto snorted. “Dude, you don’t have to speak to me like I’m an idiot.”
“You address the person teaching you here by the title of ‘Instructor’ or ‘Master,’ not ‘Dude.'” Kino sighed, before muttering under his breath, “Then again, I suppose manners aren’t required for murderers.”
He was unaware the jinchuuriki had fairly good hearing when he wasn’t distracted.
Naruto scowled. “Who are you calling a murderer? Didn’t your parents teach you not to slander people!”
The monk-in-training winced, before twirling the staff, and getting into a fighting position. “Something tells me you learn better with a hands-on approach.”
Naruto’s fox-like eyes narrowed. “Bring. It.”
Kino moved. The first strike was actually a combination of the basics. Right to the head, left to the ribs, a thrust inwards—which became a downward rowing block, and then an overhead smash, by changing his grip to both facing down.
CLACK! CLACK! THOMP! SMACK!
The first blow was blocked by the same strike, followed by the second. The thrust was avoided by stepping to the side, and then countering it with a thrust of his own. Unfortunately, the blow was shifted off by the downwards rowing block, and freed his head up for the counter. The jinchuuriki staggered and avoided a blow to the temple, taking it on the shoulder instead.
Gripping the struck spot that was sure to bruise, Naruto chided the monk-in-training. “No fair! You said changing the grip wasn’t allowed!”
“For you.” Kino made the eternal gesture for ‘Come get some.’
The blond charged, and Kino unleashed a thrust towards his forehead. Maintaining his grip, he came in for a cross strike. Raising the staff up to divert the thrust, it came across and aimed for the monk-in-training’s jaw.
“Useless!” Kino used another rowing block in an upwards position, turning and stepping, while shifting the position of the staff. The counter was an immediate low strike using the step and nailed the side of Naruto’s leg—narrowly avoiding the knee.
Ignoring the sting, the jinchuuriki struck from above. His strength and weight were put into the attack, in aggravation at being nailed so many times. The strike would hit the left shoulder and dislocated it at the minimal on impact—smashing the entire region and possibly crippling him otherwise at the most.
Kino raised his staff like a steel bar, forming a barrack between his body and the weapon. The monk-in-training shot his knee up. Blunt force slammed into the jinchuuriki’s abdomen and sent him staggering back. “The staff is part of your body, and the body is a weapon. Don’t become fixated on simply what’s in your hands and leave the rest unprotected or unused.”
The monk-in-training went on the offensive. His left hand guided the staff, as he quickly withdrew it and shot forward in succession, thrusting at the vitals numerous times. If the weapon had been a spear, each stab would have been fatal. Changing the grip to the basic he showed Naruto, he began to strike fast and hard.
Naruto blocked as best he could. The impact of each blow between the colliding wood resonated through his body, and made his arms quavered. After a left strike, he spun and leaned into a side kick, allowing the staff to pass overhead and then deliver a blow towards the monk-in-training.
Kino batted the leg aside hard, before coming in with another overhead strike. When the opposing staff was raised, the two clashed. Naruto’s bad footing, because of the smack to the leg, made him fall on his ass.
“Is all you’ve got?” Kino had a calm, but tense air about him. The hostility was obvious to Naruto, given he had long since been on the receiving end of it from the citizens and shinobi of Konoha. But to anyone else, it would probably seem like he’s being a strict instructor.
So Naruto decided to fight dirty. Grabbing a scoop full of sand, he tossed it towards Kino’s face, causing the monk-in-training to turn his back to avoid it. He wouldn’t be able to turn in time to strike the jinchuuriki, who rushed in with the staff above head.
“GHOP—!” Naruto stopped cold, as his own strength was used against him. The monk-in-training had slipped the staff under his own armpit, stabbing the point into Naruto’s solar plexus. The jinchuuriki vomited from the blow, and fell to the ground, clenching the struck part.
“If this had been a Spade or a Jian, you would’ve been killed.” The buried anger had surfaced at this point, as he looked down on the former shinobi. “Your pathetic little tricks won’t do you any good here, Konoha Dog. ”
The monk-in-training’s disdain for the former profession and home the jinchuuriki held was now clear as water. Eyes that reminded him of the Uchiha when he met his brother told Naruto of what lied behind that impassive mask. With a blur, the staff came around again to shatter his collarbone, effectively taking him out of this fight—
—but Naruto was faster. His fist came up and made contact with Kino’s face in a moment of surprise from the feral roar and faster movement, sending him flying a few feet. Naruto snarled at the young man, his whisker marks becoming pronounced and nails sharpening.
Bearing fangs at the young man who was his elder in the lifestyle of a monk, his grip on the staff became stiff. “I don’t care what problems you have with that village, BUT DON’T YOU DARE TRY TO TAKE IT OUT ON ME YOU SON OF A BITCH!”
A red coat of chakra began to wash over the jinchuuriki, imparting the wood in his hands with chakra flow, and reducing the welts from the impact of solid wood against flesh to nothing. Anger and hatred, years repressed by the jinchuuriki, baited an even greater source. One that surpassed the life of a human came to the forefront and blasted over the monk-in-training.
A killing intent that dwarfed any other he’d seen, Kino felt fear for the first time in years. Kill or be killed. Those thoughts drove him to use chakra flow to strength his staff. It would unleash a killing blow towards the skull of the jinchuuriki.
The two young men charged, each bring their staff towards the other’s head with the intent of crushing the skull of the other.
There was a blur that got between them. Wood met flesh, and rested in the luminous palms of chakra-coated, strong hands. The Head Monk had interfered. Grabbing hold, he twisted and sent the two flying into opposite directions. “Restrain yourselves. AT. ONCE.”
His tone left no room for argument. The coat of chakra vanished and the features retreated—minus the eyes. Both youths laid down their arms, and Ashua wanted answers. “What happened?”
By the time the recollection was through, the Head Monk looked down upon his protégé. “I am ashamed at your behavior. I instructed you to teach him, not take out you aggression on him for your past.”
“But he—” Kino started, only to be cut off.
“ENOUGH!” Ashua was furious and disappointed. “He stated he was a former resident of Konoha, you slandered him for a minor mistake based on his past, and more importantly—WE DO NOT DISCRIMINATE BASED ON OCCUPATION, OR NATIONALITY! HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THAT?”
The monk-in-training flinched.
Seeing he got the message across, the Head Monk sighed. “For one who claimed to wish to take the title of Head Monk, you have taken several steps back today. Go to your room. We shall met out a punishment later.”
Kino closed his eyes and nodded in acceptance, walking back towards the building. Naruto looked on as he walked, his thoughts on the matter not yet solid. Then he noticed the Head Monk facing him.
“First off, I will apologize for Kino’s behavior.” Ashua told Naruto, but his face was just as stern. “He has a bad history with Konoha shinobi and I purposely put you two together so that he could perhaps get over it. I foolishly thought he would have listened to me and followed my instructions with bringing his emotions to the front. I failed you there and you nearly unleashed the tainted chakra of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. ”
Naruto looked at him in shock.
“Do not underestimate my knowledge, young Uzumaki. I have heard whispers of what has happened during the invasion of Konoha, and I have seen the young container of the demon raccoon. You carry similar traits on your face. Not to mention when a pilgrimage group passed through the Land of Fire and Konoha a few weeks ago, the medical instructor overhead a few of the citizens speaking openly of a blond, demon fox-possessed, boy.”
Fucking loudmouth villagers! Naruto swallowed. His secret was exposed. “Are…are you going to make me leave now?”
“I will not turn away someone who seeks a new path in life, but I cannot allow you to endanger anyone in anger. No matter how painful your past was, do not let it happen a second time. If you need to leave the temple in order to vent your rage, do so with my permission. But never again attack another member here with that tainted chakra.
“As for your tenant, I have instructed the Marin to keep it quiet for now. However, it would be grossly incompetent for me to not inform the other instructors of this. Should any show you hostility, they have not ventured far enough into indifference as I had hoped and see me immediately. Do not cause a commotion.”
A cynical part of Naruto’s mind bought the next words to his lips. “You sure you want to shelter a demon child?”
“You are no demon child. Merely one filled with justified anger. Hopefully you will find the peace of mind you seek here and quell your anger, before it consumes you.”
“Easier said than done,” Naruto was decidedly honest. “They lied to me, used me, abused me, and betrayed me. I’m starting to understand why Sasuke was willing to leave the village for revenge—it’s starting to sound like a good plan right now. To me, it was more about who he was going to.”
“Rather than seek vengeance, why not seek indifference?” Ashua offered his opinion. “Vengeance is done out of hatred. To hate something is to acknowledge you feel something beyond a casual relationship. By showing indifference, you sever your connection with it entirely. It is the same advice I gave Kino when he arrived years ago.”
That worked out magnificently, Naruto thought sarcastically. “I’ll give it a try.”
Ashua nodded, before pulling out four beaded bracelets. “Now, about your punishment. Both you and Kino attempted to cause permanent damage to one another. Therefore, you shall both suffer the consequences, regardless of who started it.”
Naruto eyed the bracelets placed on his wrists and ankles. “…You’re punishing me by having me wear bling?”
“Four Limbs Weighting Seal,” Ashua pronounced, and suddenly the prayer beads felt heavier than he could have possibly imagined. As if his limbs were encased in solid steel, it weighed him down.
The Head Monk smirked. “Those will stay on for the next two weeks. This way you get further body conditioning, and a punishment all in one.”
Realizing how much of a nightmare the extra weight was going to be, Naruto sighed. “Well played, Old Monk.”
A Month Later
Naruto had fell into a routine after his first, and so far only, lesson with Kino solely. The two rarely communicated with each other and rarely showed that either one was aware the other existed. The jinchuuriki acknowledged it to be an improvement over the hostility, but it reminded him a bit about how the others would ignore him in his childhood…leaving him watching as the children left with their parents from the swings.
No! Focus! Naruto mentally snapped himself out of his memories. He was supposed to be meditating, to reach enlightenment of some kind, while on top of a boulder and basking in the setting sun. Unfortunately, being the unpredictable teen he was, his trip on the path of enlightenment was hindered as he stepped into his mindscape.
Looking around, he sighed. “I was going for enlightenment, not sewer…”
“Foolish kit,” the Kyuubi snorted. “The seal links your mindscape to here. You can never reach said enlightenment.”
Naruto glared. “Oh great, the fur ball.”
“Arrogant child!” The giant fox roared. “You will show me the respect you owe me and never address me by that title again!”
“Respect is earned!” Naruto snapped back. “I owe you nothing!”
“Have you forgotten?” The giant fox looked down upon the former ninja. “The leader of these outcast humans said he found you in time, but do you think he would have if I had not cleared that sand away? To think you would be so careless and enter a desert without proper supplies…”
“Because of your help, I got kicked out of the village in the first place!”
“Without my chakra you would have been cremated, and had your name placed on the stone of the lost, unlike your parents…”
The jinchuuriki’s eyes narrowed. “You knew my parents?”
A menacing grin etched itself across the fox’s face, revealing fangs that could penetrate steel. “…That is for me to know, and you to find out. Now…GET. OUT.”
And just like that, he was thrown out of his own mindscape…with enough force that he fell back in the real world and off his boulder, onto the sand with a yelp, and disrupted the others. Thus earning him another meeting with the Head Monk in his office, where Naruto explained what his tenant said.
“I see…” Ashua nodded and closed his eyes in thought. “I can’t say that I fully trust this chakra demon inside of you…but have you ever thought of making peace with it?”
Naruto blinked. “Why would I try to make peace with a gigantic demon fox that’s been related to as a natural disaster?”
“It spoke, correct?”
Naruto raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “Yeah…”
“The ability to communicate, especially with a species different than yours, is a sign of intelligence. From what you’ve told me, your relationship is more parasitic than symbiotic.”
Naruto pouted. “Yeah, he’s leech…”
The Head Monk shook his head. “I was talking about you. You are stripping the chakra demon of its chakra and offering it nothing in return. As a chakra demon, you’ve basically been feeding off his life force, and seeing as how the seal is purifying it into your own…you’re killing it. Is a little respect too much to ask for?”
“But he caused a lot of death and stuff!”
“True, his attack on your home in the past was devastating,” Ashua rubbed his chin in thought. “But you’ve only heard about what others have told you, and then pushed the blame onto you. Have you heard it from the fox itself?
“No. Things got heated…” Naruto admitted sheepishly.
Ashua sighed tiredly. “I’m not telling you to be best friends with it, but I imagine a portion of its rage stems from the fact that a once free, intelligent creature is now trapped—in a sewer of all things. You can’t release it obviously, but you should find some way to alter it into something more comfortable at least. It would make things better for you both if you take the first step towards coexistence.
“If you study the seal on your stomach, you can probably learn how to arrange the mindscape…providing you’ve been making an effort in learning about them?”
Naruto nodded. “I’ve been working on the seals lessons, and I spent all night trying to get how a storage seal works. It’s basically working on the same principles of space manipulation jutsu in some aspects…”
The jinchuuriki trailed off into a long, detailed deconstruction of the process and Ashua blinked in surprised silence, before putting in his two cents. “First, don’t let me hear about you staying up too late again. Second, you managed to figure out the principles of a storage seal that fast, rather than just learning to write a predetermined formula?”
“You truly are an Uzumaki…” The Head Monk smiled somberly. “Such falls in line with the your clan’s talents. Now if only there was another around to teach you more, I have a feeling you would blossom into a great seal expert.”
Naruto cheeks took a sanguine color. Being praised was nice in the end. But it still only reminded him that he had been denied a heritage, and his loathing of his village slowly grew further in the shadows of his heart.
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